How Eco-friendly Home Renovations Can Save You Money

Today we have a guest post written by sustainability writer Emily Folk. You can find more of her work on her blog Conservation Folks or you can connect with her on Twitter.

How Eco-Friendly Home Renovations Save You Money

Renovating our house can be an exciting but daunting task. We want our home to be more beautiful or look more modern. Sometimes the insides of the house need an update—the plumbing, electrical, or the HVAC systems. Other times we look around and just want a fresh coat of paint on things, maybe some new furniture or decorations, too.

If you are environmentally conscious, you can still make attractive updates which help or at least won’t harm the environment. Whether you are gutting a house and starting over or just adding a few pieces to accent your dining room, here are a few eco-friendly and budget-friendly renovations which will help you save money, too.

Decorate With Recycled Materials

You can decorate your home with antique furniture. This helps the environment because the item has already been made. You aren’t increasing demand for new furniture, and you aren’t adding to our landfills by disposing of furniture. There are also beautiful furniture pieces made with reclaimed wood from old barns or other structures. These are called repurposed furniture and are quite popular now.

Barn wood doors can be resized and refinished and can make an eye-catching entry to any room. Sliding barn doors can be an attractive way to divide rooms. If you can’t find an old door to reclaim from a barn, you can make your own sliding barn door using leftover wooden pallets accented with cedar.

Decorative windows made from recycled glass can add flair to your décor. Even scrap metal can be an eye-catching part of your home interior. Beautiful sculptures, wine racks and furniture are being produced from previously used metal. It’s not likely you can make these things yourself, but they are available for purchase at home decorating stores. You can use old metal street signs to decorate your walls, perhaps in the basement. Attaching them is easy.

Check out the thrifts shops, Salvation Army and Goodwill stores for treasures such as old furniture, artwork, lamps and dishes. They were brought there for any number of reasons, but it doesn’t make them any less beautiful. Some of these items may be quite valuable and just need some cleaning or polishing. You’ll get an eye for the things you like and may get addicted to discovering them.

Install a Solar Panel

Sunshine is free. Capturing and using it is not. But if you install a solar panel outside your home, you can recoup your investment over time by harvesting electricity from the sun’s power. You will be helping the environment, too, as you will not be consuming energy created by burning fossil fuels.

Even if you can’t run your whole house on this solar panel, you can still operate energy-consuming appliances such as your hot water tank. There are do-it-yourself solar panel instructions available, but if you have any doubts about your abilities, it might be best spend the money for professional installation.

Invest In An Insulated Garage Door

Think of the surface area of your garage door. It’s the biggest opening to your home. You’re spending money to heat or cool your home. When you open that door, all the hot or cold air blows in. You can feel it on the entrance door to your home. Your furnace or AC has to work harder to do its job.

With an insulated garage door, you can maintain a constant temperature in your garage, whether you heat or cool it or not. It can act as a buffer zone and reduce the transmission of cold and hot air through the walls of your home. If your garage is not attached, it still makes it a more comfortable place to work in on cold and hot days. The less cold or hot air escaping, the more money you save.

Replace Your Flooring

Don’t tear up a good wood floor. Those can be stripped and refinished and can last virtually forever. But if your floor is linoleum or some other outdated material—or if it’s in disrepair—consider using a more environmentally friendly material to replace it. Bamboo is a great option. Usually, you think of bamboo as a stick or as panda food. But bamboo is a tough water resistant building material. It is also environmentally friendly because it can be harvested without destroying it. The roots remain and grow new bamboo. This makes it more plentiful and more renewable than wood. You also end up with attractive flooring.

Cork is another option. Cork is a natural, replenishable building material. It is harvested from the bark of a cork oak tree without harming it. The cork grows back and can be harvested again. Should you ever discard it, cork is biodegradable and won’t harm the environment.

Cork flooring comes in easy-to-install tiles, making it easy for you to tackle the project yourself should you choose to. Cork is easy to clean and easy to maintain. It feels soft on your feet and can warm your floor. Cork is a natural insulator, both for heat and cold and also for sound.

Because of this, cork flooring can help insulate your home and help reduce the expense of maintaining the temperature of your interior. It’s just a matter of whether you like the look of it or not. Also, it does scratch and dent easily. This might be a consideration of you have pets or energetic children running about.

Stop the Leaks

Visually, this is the least exciting renovation you can make, but it will save you just as much money. Since you spend most of your energy costs on keeping your home at a desired temperature, it’s important to make sure that money spent isn’t escaping through the cracks of your home.

Make sure your attic and wall space insulation is up to date and in good condition. Caulk leaking windows and add weather-stripping to doors. Make sure your hot water pipes are wrapped with foam insulation so that the heat is not escaping into your house. When you close your windows, lock them, so they remain tightly sealed.

You can make your home more eco-friendly and make it look more modern, too. Have some fun with it, and feel better that you are saving energy. You will be doing what you can to help the environment and you will have more money to show for it. You can put that towards your next project!

Emily Folk is a freelance conservation and sustainability writer and blogger. To check out her latest articles take a look at her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter!

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